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Synteract and Harrison Clinical Research Close Deal to Form Multinational CRO

SAN DIEGO, Mar. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Synteract, a leading full-service contract research organization (CRO) and portfolio company of San Francisco-based Gryphon Investors, has completed its acquisition of Harrison Clinical Research ("HCR") to form a new multinational CRO – SynteractHCR. The company will have its corporate headquarters in San Diego County. Wendel Barr will lead SynteractHCR as CEO. Dr. Francisco Harrison, formerly HCR's chairman and founder, will remain a senior member of the executive team and become a member of the Board of Directors.  The existing management stays in place, with former Synteract COO Stewart Bieler becoming president of U.S. operations and former HCR CEO Benedikt van Nieuwenhove becoming president of European operations for SynteractHCR.


The merger of the companies will make SynteractHCR a top tier, global CRO and provide additional resources and scale to support large, later phase programs:

  • Geographic Footprint — The combined company will have offices in 16 countries with operations in both Western and Eastern Europe, Israel and South America, as well as the U.S.  In addition to its headquarters in San Diego, California, SynteractHCR's U.S.presence will include two offices on the East coast in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina and Princeton, New Jersey, reflecting coverage of three important biopharmaceutical hubs. This expanded presence will allow the company to offer strong international and regional clinical trial support to clients throughout the world. SynteractHCR also maintains a clinical in-patient unit in Germany that will help enlist and treat trial patients, as well as a clinical research training center in Belgium to assist internal and external professionals.
  • Longstanding Experience and Talent — SynteractHCR has exceptionally strong, full-service clinical development expertise with a staff of more than 800. Typical employee tenure at the company is greater than five years. Employees have a lower-than-average turnover rate compared to the industry.
  • Client Loyalty and Repeat Business — A strong tradition of customer service excellence combined with a high regard for trust and transparency are cornerstones of ongoing client relationships, resulting in a high percentage of repeat and referral business. 
  • Reinforced Therapeutic Breadth — Both organizations have a complementary heritage of managing Phase I-IV clinical trials across multiple therapeutic areas, much of which strategically aligns with the largest areas of clinical R&D investment, including oncology, CNS, infectious disease, endocrinology, cardiovascular and respiratory. 

SynteractHCR is focused on enabling and supporting the innovation and development of better therapies in healthcare. A continued directive of the new combined company will be to maintain a strong connection with emerging to midsize biopharmaceutical companies through which a consultative approach and strong clinical development expertise provide the foundation of its customer relationships.

"Our longstanding drug development expertise allows us to form a new global leader with enhanced scale and therapeutic breadth, but with the personal approach that we have always taken to working with clients," said CEO Wendel Barr . "We will provide a continuum of service that allows us to work with clients throughout the entire development life cycle, from emerging products through post-marketing, and will bring technology efficiencies to the company that will help to take time and cost out of drug development."

SynteractHCR is a portfolio company of Gryphon Investors, a San Francisco-based premier middle market private equity firm, which was the lead financial partner in the acquisition.  Fairmount Partners provided financial advice to Synteract, while KPMG International provided financial advice to HCR. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The new company will unveil its new brand identity and messaging at the DIA EuroMeeting in Amsterdam, from March 4-6, 2013, in booth 616. In addition, Andrei Kravchenko , MD, PhD, Head of Office, Ukraine, will participate as session chair on Tuesday, March 5th at 2-3:30 p.m. CET on "Enhancing Clinical Research Effectiveness."

About SynteractHCR (
SynteractHCR is a full-service contract research organization with a successful two-decade track record supporting biotechnology, medical device and pharmaceutical companies in all phases of clinical development. With its "Shared Work – Shared Vision" philosophy SynteractHCR provides customized Phase I through IV services collaboratively and cost effectively ensuring on-time delivery of quality data so clients get to decision points faster. Operating in 16 countries, SynteractHCR delivers trials internationally, offering expertise across multiple therapeutic areas including notable depth in oncology, CNS, infectious disease, endocrinology, cardiovascular and respiratory, among other indications.

Beth Walsh

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